Black Confederate: A. D. Mitchell
6th Alabama Infantry, Home Guard, Confederate Valet, CSA
From the March 10, 1938 edition of The Coalfield Progress:
A. D. Mitchell
Once a Slave
Dies at 95
A. D. Mitchell, 95 years old, one of the old slaves and negro preachers, one of the most beloved of his race; died last week at the home of "Red" Hollis, where he had made his home for several years. Funeral services were held Sunday burial being made in the Norton colored cemetery.
He was born a slave, at Lynchburg, (VA), November 25, 1842. While he was a small child, his mother carried him to Alabama. Later he was resold and returned to his former home in Lynchburg, and then sold again and returned to Alabama, where he was freed. His last master, to whom he was valet, was a Mr. Lamar. During the War, Mr. Lamar was wounded, and having no other way to get to safety, Mitchell carried him on his back to Marietta, Georgia, a distance of twenty miles, to the nearest railroad station. When he was freed his master gave his slaves permission to choose their own names and Floyd chose his father’s name, Mitchell.
He was twice married and had one son. He was a retired minister and loved to sing the old plantation songs. His favorite was "In the Mansion Above." He was granted pension in 1934 while living in Norton, VA. According to his application he was age 91 in 1902 and born in Prattsville, Alabama and that he had lived in Virginia for the past 17 years. He states that he served under 4th Corporal M. B. Lamar and Captain John M. Franklin. That he enlisted on March 25th 1862 in Prattville, Alabama with his master Myra Beau (Mirabeau) Lamar. He states "I left the service to wait on my master. I was offered my freedom but would not leave." He had made his living as a coal miner, but was not longer able to pursue that occupation because he was "totally blind caused by a fall over a cliff as I was running with my wounded master on my back." He states that he cannot see well enough to care for himself. He further states that he enlisted with the Home Guard with his master Myra Lamar so as to watch the roges and we got into a fight and he was shot and he carried him on his back out of danger.
Dr. George W. Botts who had examined him for pension states that he was permanently blind in both eyes.
In 1933, Hattie Taylor, of the Salyer-Lee Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy in Norton became involved in Floyd Lamar’s attempts to receive a Confederate pension for his service. Ms. Taylor writes to Lt. Myra Beau Lamar in Prattsville, Alabama and receives a letter from Sarah Lamar Law, the sister of Myra Beau informing her that her brother has died:
From Talladage County, State of Alabama comes the following letter:
Before me W. L. Campbell, a justice of the peace in and for the said County personally appeared Mrs. Sarah Lamar Law, who says that she knows Floyd Lamar, colored, and that he was in Confederate Army and that he did belong to the home guards and did carry her brother, Myra Beau Lamar, on his back and took him home when he was wounded.
Mrs. Sarah Lamar Law
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 2nd day of January 1934
W. L. Campbell
A letter to Mrs. Taylor dated January 6, 1934:
I am one of the Lamar descendants. I’ve been trying to get some information in regards to the colored man, Floyd Lamar. My oldest sister, as a little girl, remembers him and feels once the facts he states are true. We feel sure that the now old afflicted darkey is entitled to a pension and we sincerely hope you can obtain one for him.
Mrs. Corinne Alexander
Another letter from Norton, VA, dated January 8th, 1934, to the Pension Board in Richmond:
State of Virginia
County of Wise
Personally appeared before me S. N. Taylor, a Notary Public in and for the within County and State aforesaid, Floyd Lamar, 91 years old, and on oath swears that he belonged to the Home Guards and enlisted in the Confederate service at Prattville, Alabama, March 25th 1862 with his Master Myra Beau Lamar, and while we were guarding the road near Marietta, Georgia we got into a battle with the Federal soldiers as they were trying to reach the town.
My Master was shot in the side and badly wounded and I picked him up as I was near him and got him on my back and ran with him and it was dark and I fell over a cliff with him on my back and struck my head on a big rock and raised a large knot and it is still above my right eye and the Doctors say it has caused my blindness.
My master’s brother, C. G. Lamar, known locally as Obe Lamar was with us and he fell on top of us as we went over the cliff but I succeeded in getting my master home. As I carried him to a place of safety..
He got well and the last I knew of him he was living at Prattville, Alabama. It has been 20 years or more since I have heard from him.
After a series of letters, Mrs. Taylor receives the following:
February 9, 1934
Mrs. Hattie M. Taylor
922 Virginia Avenue
My dear Madam –
Replying to your letter of the 6th instant, I beg to advise that we received the statement you sent from Alabama in the interect of Floyd Lamar, as an applicant for pension, and beg to advise that from these letters, it appears this old man served in the Home Guard, and was not enlisted in the Confederate Army as a Confederate soldier. In fact there were rare instances where colored folks were enlisted in the Confederate Army, and for that reason, we cannot allow him a pension as a Confederate soldier, unless it can be proven that he was so enlisted.
The Confederate records do not show anything of his service or enlistment, but these affidavits received through you from Alabama show that he could be classed as a Confederate servant under our law, in view of the fact that he accompanied his master in the army as a Confederate servant, and in that case would be entitled to a servant’s pension, which has been $96.00 per year, $8.00 per month, but that has been reduced, making monthly payments $5.60.
I am going to pay this claim on the 15th of this month, which is our next pay day, and I will allow him the monthly pension checks one for January, and one for February, $5.60 each, and we will also send him on March 1st a check for the month of March. After that, as long as he lives, he will receive his checks monthly.
The Lieutenant to whom he rendered service was Mirabeau Dent Lamar, hence Myra Beau, born about 1837 in Alabama and died there in 1893. He was the son of Dent and Martha (Gardner) Moss Lamar and married Arianna Madora Doster. He was the brother of Sarah Ann Lamar Law, wife of George William Pickney Law, who died July 19, 1934 shortly after attesting to Floyd Lamar’s service with her brother.
From: Pension Application of Floyd Lamar, The Coalfield Progress, March 10, 1938. Information from the Law Family Genealogical Society, provided by Michael Rounds.